The New York-based singers and actors released a video of their performance of “Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again” at the Mabel Mercer Foundation’s 30th Annual Cabaret Convention in October. The two songs were first performed as a counterpoint duet featuring Garland and Streisand on a 1963 episode of “The Judy Garland Show.” The medley has been a beloved standard ever since.
“This is such an iconic pairing of songs so we decided to respect the original arrangement while still making it our own,” Anthony told HuffPost. “The song pairing is an anthem for joy and hope and I think, especially in times like today, it resonates now more than ever.”
As fixtures on the national cabaret circuit, the Nunziatas have regularly paid tribute to Garland in their performances. Still, they said that “Get Happy/Happy Days Are Here Again” took on a special meaning for them this year, which is the 50th anniversary of Garland’s death.
“Judy Garland is my north star for what it means to be an artist,” Will said. “As a performer, she was unapologetic, ferocious and authentic ― qualities I try to impart on the artists I direct and [in] my own craft as a singer and entertainer.”
The Nunziatas are releasing their video amidst a resurgence of interest in Garland.
Renée Zellweger earned critical raves and Academy Award buzz for her portrayal of the stage and screen icon in “Judy,” which hit theaters in September. A Showtime documentary released in October, “Sid & Judy,” examined the “second act” of Garland’s career, which coincided with her 13-year marriage to film producer Sid Luft. And a new bio-musical, “Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz,” is said to be aiming for Broadway after a fall run at New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse.
The star’s enduring popularity is no surprise to Garland expert John Fricke, who co-hosted the evening of performances at the Cabaret Convention in October and is a creative consultant on “Chasing Rainbows.” While much of the recent discourse has emphasized Garland’s offscreen challenges ― including the drug addiction that claimed her life ― Fricke believes her talent still speaks for itself.
“Because she was and remains the best at what she did, she is constantly rediscovered and revered,” said Fricke, who is the author of 2011’s “Judy: A Legendary Film Career,” among other Garland-related books. “The bottom line is that nothing interferes with or compromises what she brings in terms of entertainment or art or whatever one cares to call it.”